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  SFGTV2    [untitled]  

    February 16, 2013
    8:00 - 8:30am PST  

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american bar. in most countries, they have a government bar association that is part of the government, in effect. then they just have an non-club federated are. the person was a 70-year-old viet cong that was the chair. one of the most interesting conversations i ever had. someone who did not told anyanger, -- not hold any anger, but wanted information and help from america. the american bar association has one of the best legal libraries in the world. coaching and has said -- has built a law school that has no books. we're working with those countries to provide them with legal materials because they have been asking. they also ask for lawyers to help them with their loss students -- loss students -- law
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students. we have reached out to see if we can do some exchange program. what i tell them not to do, i think that they ought to not -- the same thing i said earlier. they ought to try to find the separation of funding issues that the government needs to make it not a political system. they need to look at what is adequate. in these countries, access seems to be the biggest issue. they ask me about access. it is ironic that we have our own access issues, which we talked about earlier, but they are very concerned about not having sufficient access to the legal system for their citizens. >> the problem of under-
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nourishment, so to speak, of the justice system is one aspect. you have talked about, is it that the trial level, the original access to justice? some one here has written, are there similar problems in the slowing of the functions of the appellate courts in resolving legal issues? they mentioned particularly environmental law, which you could say, the same would be true of many other branches of law where the appellate system has become so sluggish, so slow, that often by the time a question finally gets resolved, in an appellate court, particularly the supreme court, the practical utility of the resolution is obsolete, because
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life has been moving along much faster underneath. is that another dimension of this problem? >> it is certainly a problem. again, quo tote -- to quote winston churchill, it is a terrible system. it is just better than any other one. i met with the brazilian supreme court. they have just met with the united states supreme court less than a month ago to deal with their issues. in brazil, every matter that comes before the supreme court of brazil, they had 80,000 cases last year, 80,000, obviously, no justice. you cannot have a system that wants to review 80,000 cases. i do think our appellate system could use some tweaking, but by and large, the florida -- i am
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not sure i agree with that -- almost certainly respected -- the florida supreme court's motto is, you'll appreciate this, i will not give you the latin version, but the translation is "soon enough, if correct." that is the actual motto. sometimes soon enough is not soon enough. you are correct. as you know, professor, the supreme court of the united states takes such few cases that usually the intermediary court decision is the final one. we have to fill the bench. it is going to be worse every day if we have an empty federal bench that cannot function. on the 11th circuit today, we have two vacancies. >> another dimension, it has
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been called to mind in this question that justice sotomayor was cross-examined in a rather aggressive way concerning her statement that a woman, i think she went on to say hispanic woman -- >> wise latina. >> you are running way ahead of me. could understand a lot of things much better than people, certainly such as i, and perhaps even you. so we are talking both about, so to speak on ethnic and cultural background and gender. they are affecting the way people understand what justice is.
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>> well, she -- i thought she answered the question pretty well. she got confirmed. the fact is that at the same time, the justice alito understands some of those cultural issues. it is interesting. the supreme court of the united states today has no protestants on the supreme court. isn't that interesting? we basically have catholics and jews. >> i have been very worried about that, i will tell you. [laughter] >> i mentioned it because i thought it was keeping you up at night. the fact is that i have no doubts that they each will do what they said in their nomination, which is they would apply the law, and what justice roberts said is really probably a similar statement. judges are supposed to call
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balls and strikes. that does not mean that they don't understand -- as a matter of fact, why do you have a diverse jury? the appellate court is just another type of jury, right? the supreme court is a very different kind of jury because the supreme court, and having only had one case before them, i learned very quickly that president -- precedent is not as important as the justices, who will decide what the law is. they will change what the lot is if they get a majority of their sisters and brothers to go along with it. to have a jury made up of diverse cultural views and understanding only makes us a stronger society. so i think -- i personally think it is a good thing. i do not think you ever separate
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your life from what you do. your personal experiences -- some of the personal experiences i talked about tonight shaped my life, and i think they are important parts of the decision- making process in may, that they did not overwhelm -- but they do not overwhelm the legal obligations i have in the case. >> i am going to ask a different kind of question, which is -- do you see the difference between the idea of a constitutional democracy, which is a term you have used -- and a constitutional republic? >> i really do not. i use them interchangeably. one of my favorites is ben franklin. when he left the constitutional convention, one of the people on the street and asked him what kind of government he had given them, and he said, "a republic,
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if you can keep it." i think in many ways, they are one in the same. frankly, there may be some differences that people at some level view it, but i view it as almost interchangeable words. >> speaking of which, the aba has recently given attention to the problem of lobbying. in particular, the concern that, speaking of republics, that people will have access to money -- businesses, but others as well -- had higher voices whispering in the year -- can higher voices whispering in the year of congressman or more important, in the year of staff of congressman -- the ear of
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staff of congressman. do you think that is a serious problem? and what could they do about it? >> if you look at how the supreme court looks at even funding of judicial elections, which are meant to be different than legislative elections -- remember that we have two branches of government that the framers decided would be controlled by a majority vote. that is the executive and legislative. they did a pretty good job of keeping their fingers in the air, right? i think that people have a right to lobby. i think for people do not have the same access as rich people. i think for people have a lot of things that they cannot do because of the resources they have available, but i think lobbying in general, as long as it is not anything that is secretive, and that is one of the big problems in lobbying --
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the secret of aspects of it -- but as long as they do not violate the law, there is going to be lobbying. i think a bigger problem and one that i'm glad i have a couple of minutes to talk about, is the political action committees coming into states and targeting judges. that is a huge problem. look at what happened in iowa. you had a supreme -- you know about the judges that got removed? we do not know about that? ok, let me talk about that for a second year of two supreme court justices were removed by the voters because they voted in a unanimous opinion based on the iowa constitution and the united states constitution on any issue involving gay rights. an anonymous political action committee comes in and takes one
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sentence out of an opinion of these judges who have been on the bench for years and years and years and defeats them, removes them at the polls and actually suggests that this is -- this was in the words of the organizer -- that this is a wake-up call to the judiciary. actually, it should be a wake-up call to all americans that we have a serious problem. we should not allow anonymous pac's to come into states ended the judges based on one sentence is opinion. they are going to have one, let them registered and let them decide -- let the people decide whether or not those judges acted in a way that was consistent with the constitution. as a result of that, one of the things i have asked, and this will be one of the most interesting debates in the next three weeks in toronto, is the judicial recusal coming before
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congress. i think the republican party versus white, which is the case that said that judges have first amendment rights -- historically, the judicial code said judges are not supposed to comment about how they would rule in a certain case, and they have a very strict code of conduct. republican party versus white, decided by the united states supreme court, said that judges have first amendment rights, so they can say anything they want. the point is that if a judge says, "i'm going to rule for or against an abortion issue," without hearing the evidence during the course of the campaign, should that judge be disqualified? by virtue of those statements. and also, if a judge is to be reduced, that is the most difficult thing that a trial lawyer ever has to do. i will tell you as a practicing trial lawyer, you will stay up nights and nights and nights
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before you will ever see to reduce a judge. it is very serious. >> a few people in the audience might be helped if you would define refusal. >> refusal is when you say to a court, "you cannot be fair." this is the person who is going to judge your case and your client's case. you then write a motion that explains why you think this judge cannot be fair. if you do not think that is a tough decision -- it is a tough decision on a lot of bases. your client's affidavits have to be filed. you should never file something like that. it is a very serious document. all documents may be serious, but there's nothing as or more serious than saying to a judge, "you cannot beat their peak at one of the things we are suggesting, for example, and historically, who do you think rules on that? the judge who you are saying cannot be fair.
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[laughter] ok, this is common sense. something sometimes is lost in the law, as dickens pointed out many years ago. but we are suggesting that somebody other than that judge, another judge, look at that and determine whether it is facially sufficient. because that is the standard. we are looking at issues like in florida. you get -- get $500 to a judge, that is okay, but if you give more than that, that judge cannot hear your case. if you are, let's say, the campaign manager for a judge -- because we have elections -- if anybody's interested -- let me just finish that. if you are a campaign manager, he cannot appear before that judge. the aba spent two years on a report called justice in jeopardy, which is online, and it talks about how judges are elected in every single state. one of the document you might be
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interested in because i understand you have had vigorous talks about this recently is immigration. the aba just issued several months ago the most comprehensive immigration reform report in the last two decades. it contains 10,000 pro bono lawyer hours of some of the best law firms in america. part of the frustration that exists regarding immigration -- and i was just at a white house meeting monday and tuesday of this week on this issue -- it relates to the anchor -- the anger people have saying that is broken and we cannot fix it and there's nothing we can do. that is wrong. we have an ability to fix the problem. we should fix the problem. the aba rendered a report that it will continue to act as a resource in fixing the problem. these are things they have online if you are interested. suddenly, you could visit our website feared by the way, if we
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do not get to your question, i will see you out back. happy to talk to you about anything you want to talk about. >> we should all remember that most of us are at least descendants of immigrants. one thing about justice in a different sense -- i have a question here that says that some constitutions -- and they mention the cuban one -- include health and literacy as basic rights. should we think of those as basic rights? you will certainly realize that at least as to help, that is one of the key problems going on in the present debt ceiling controversy in washington.
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>> my favorite book just recently, and i tell you it is $9.95 on amazon, is president kennedy's book called "nation of immigrants." it was written in the early 1960's. it will take you a couple of hours to read it again. it is a fabulous book and makes you realize that nothing has changed in the last 50 years. he talks about why we are a nation of immigrants and why that has been the strength of america. so, yes, we are all a nation of immigrants. we should remember that in these debates. but florida has an interesting process, something the all states should adopt, but every 20 years, a group of 30 citizens are awarded by the governor, the speaker of the house, the senate, supreme court, to rewrite florida's
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constitution, every line of it. it does not go to the legislature. all those pesky lobbyists out there do not get a chance to lobby one way or the other. goes right to the citizens of the state. took us two years to do that. we look at these issues. in florida's constitution, a quality education is now in the florida constitution. i do believe that in america, particularly, everyone is entitled to a quality education. and most certainly in this country, people should not go to bed hungry. that is just unacceptable. the way that the misery index in this country is one that is way out of the line because of the recent economic situation. i do not think that we as a country even understand how the unemployment has affected so many families, and we have a
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whole new strata called the new league for, people who were driving forces yesterday and in bread lines today -- who were driving portias -- driving porsches yesterday and in redlines today. we need to make sure americans had the opportunity to have reasonable health care. not excessive. the fact is we've got to make sure that what happened in past -- and we know that. a lot of costs have spiraled out of control. we have to have a baseline. this country has promised that in a sense of being a land of opportunity for all its people. the resources that we have in this country are such that we
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have to make sure that the least among us are protected. so i hope that one day we will see that happen. >> thank you very much. our thanks to steven zack, president of the american bar association. we also thank our audience is here and on radio television and the internet. tonight's program has been part of the commonwealth club's u.s. constitution in the 21st century series, underwritten by the charles guess he family, and we thank them, and we thank you. [applause]
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[applause] >> good evening. welcome to the meeting of the commonwealth club and forum, connect your intellect. you can find us online. you can follow the best of our conversations on twitter. i am the author of the "this is your brain on music. " i am a professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience. i am delighted to introduce you to my friend, one of my famous
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-- favorite guitarists and musicians. he discovered the guitar at a young age. he has played at notable vilnius such as the -- notable venues such as montrose and carnegie hall. >> i would like to start by saying that in the last 15 or 20 years of my research, one thing i found most surprising as a musician myself in exploring music and the brain is how -- discovering where it is that music is. i always imagined as a player that the music was in my fingers. now i know is in the brain. it is a neuro-representation of the figures. music is in every part of the brain that we have mapped.
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there is no part of the brain that does not have something to do with music. i found that very surprising. i wondered if you find that surprising as a player and what your own intuitions were coming into it. >> i think my intuition is that music is something that gets received in some sense or another, like radio, like something you pick up. it is a vibration. when i have written my own music for the guitar, a lot of times it is the result of having experienced something and having to absorb it like you might absorb a vibration or light our experience something rhythmic like walking down the street. >> a lot of composers say they feel like they are not really creating the music. they're channeling it.
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roseanne cash talks about holding up her catcher's mitt and catching one as it goes by. someone else talks about how the music is everywhere for anyone to take, that you just have to tune into it. >> driving down here today, there was a rough patch of road because there was construction. you are feeling the road. it makes you aware that no matter where you are or what you are doing, you could be some ki, and you hear something may be rise out of that rhythm. for me, personally, a lot of times the idea for writing a piece of music or making arrangement comes from some sort of rhythm. a lot of people would say, do you get the melody first or the rhythm? i always say i get the rhythm first and the melody comes out of it. >> could you play us an example
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of may be something where the rhythm came first? and maybe just play the rhythm. >> i will try. this is a piece called "cumulus rising." this is from a piece that i did in 1998, on the theme of water. this is sort of the theme of water rising through a team less clout. it does not have to be, but that is the sensation that gave me the idea. -- cumulus cloud. >> if you could play the rhythm first. >> i will tap it. [tapping] pretty simple.
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then i will play a little bit of it. ♪
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>> i will leave it there. [applause] >> one of the things that people often ask is what is happening in our brains when we hear a piece of music. it is extraordinarily complicated. a sound enters the years and there is a cascade of their rick complicated processes that turn the changes in air pressure to an electrical signal which gets transmitted from the year to the brain. once it hits the brain, it gets even more complicated. it turns out there are distinct regions of the brain that process different aspects of the sound. one part of the brain, you can think of it as a special purpose circuit, attending to and processing their read them. then there is a separate part
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processing the pitch, a separate part combining the pitches and duration into melodies, a part separate from that attending to how loud or soft it is, and it all comes together later and get this seamless impression of this beautiful melody and harmony, yet, it is processed piecemeal. one of the sources of information of this is we have patients who are damaged in one focal portion of the brain and they lose one of those elements while retaining the others. they may lose rhythm or they will have to pitch and harmony. >> is it processed in real time? simultaneously? >> yes, but quickly. when i say later, later in brain time means maybe 1/30 of a second later.